Mendive takes control of the Fine Arts Museum

Mendive takes control of the Fine Arts Museum
Fecha de publicación: 
6 June 2024
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It is almost literal: Manuel Mendive (Havana, 1944) has taken the building of Cuban Art of the National Museum of Fine Arts. His mega-exhibition Pan con guayaba, una vida feliz, which opened last Friday, has taken control of several halls of the Havana’s art institution. His distinctive figurations —paintings, sculptures, installations— amaze visitors in the backyard, halls, or even in the exhibition halls of the permanent collection display, in a well-intentioned dialogue with the art works of other renowned artists such as Wilfredo Lam or Amelia Pelaez.

It is certainly an ambitious curatorship, which brings together a discourse of deep poetic significance. The main core is exhibited in the gallery for temporary art exhibitions on the third level. It is a journey to the origins, which could be understood as the process of consolidation of one of the most significant poetics of national art.

Prodigious creatures: birds, deities, women and children; thriving vegetation that seems to dance, and hundreds of shells and snails that refer to myths and legends; a religious heritage that builds bridges to mother Africa and found lyrical concretion in these lands: it is the art of Manuel Mendive, full and suggestive.

The title may offer many clues as it evokes the years in which Mendive was a child, gathering the experiences, the images that he would later return in wonderful creations. That child —he says it in the text he wrote for the exhibition flyer— loved bread with guava. Today's Mendive always bets on happiness. Even if such a happiness is not what others expect: personal fulfillment is one of the pillars of his worldview.

The exhibition will be open until July. It has been conceived in memory of Juan Delgado Calzadilla, Juanito, who died a few years ago, promoter of dozens of Cuban artists. It is an endeavor of the National Museum of Fine Arts, the Mendive Art Project and Génesis Galerías de Arte, curated by Darys Vázquez and Laura Arañó.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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